Thursday, August 04, 2005

Neat and Natural

I signed up my two older kids for a day camp at the local children’s museum this week. The oldest is taking, “Artistic Expressions,” and the seven year old is taking, “Irish Dance.” I know – typical classes for a person who lives in hippie country.

But before you chastise me, know that I needed something for my kids to do this summer…it was the day camp thing or the prospect of investing in a back yard portable boxing ring and letting them duke it out for the rest of the summer. Well, it wasn’t getting quite that bad around here, but they are pretty tired of hanging out with each other 24/7.

Hey, that boxing ring thing isn’t such a bad idea…gonna have to look into that…

Anyway, back to the morning at the museum yesterday. So the other mothers and I are standing around the outdoor play area waiting for one of the classes to begin, and this one mom who is holding her barefoot three year old in one of those side-swaddling baby sling do dads (the kind of thing you see in the National Geographic pictures of women in the Congo packing their children in as they walk back to the village balancing clay jars of water on their heads), brings up breast feeding. How long did you nurse your children? Do you still nurse? Etc.

She didn’t look to be the “neat and natural” type – you know the type who thinks it’s fun to whip out a boob on any occasion and nurse her five year old. Cute tan Gap Capris, cute pink tee; I think I have the same outfit, in fact. Not the usual unshaven hairy pits, tie-dye shirt, gypsy skirt, and birks usually associated with the neat and natural crowd.

Then she says, “Oh I nursed my oldest until she was two years and eleven months, and I was sad to stop. This guy is three and he still nurses.”

I choke back nervous laughter and try hard not to blurt out, “What the hell? I was potty training my kids when they were that age, not weaning them!”

But all smiles, I say something to the effect of, “Oh…wow…oh.”

And she continues with the details and then says, “I figure, hey, they’ve got to get fluids somewhere, and there is probably more nutrients in my breast milk than anything I could get from a cow,” and the last phrase she says with particular distain as if she were a vegetarian or something.

“Right, that breast milk is easier to digest I hear,” I reply. That’s about all I could muster in that conversation.

Very awkward….veeery awkward…

It gets better.

On our way out of the museum, she says out of the blue, “Wanna try my sling?”

“Huh?” I say, taken aback.

“My sling – wanna try it out? I have lots of them at home. It’s no problem, really.”

Still not getting it, “What?” I say in a puzzled voice.

Slightly offended, she says, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to – I don’t want to force it on you or anything.”

With nervous laughter I say, “Oh, no, it’s okay, I just thought that you wanted to take the one off you are using right now and…” My voice trails off as she – clearly having her own agenda – is taking her three year old out of her sling and then proceeds to place the contraption over my head.

I don’t really know what to say at this point. Not wanting to offend the gal, I consent graciously. Not because I am a gracious person, mind you, but because I am not interested in offending anyone at that moment or making a public scene over this.

So there I am smiling awkwardly in the neat and natural sling, and this lady is just beaming at the thought of having a new convert.

“Try it, enjoy it for a few days. Give it back to me on Friday. I have lots of these at home, so I won’t miss it at all,” she says.

Thank you, but no, I think.

Fast forward to this morning. When I see the neat and natural lady, I make polite conversation, and then I nonchalantly give her back her sling. “Thanks a ton for letting me try this out, but it just didn’t work for me. My 11 month old is just too squirmy. I bet it would have worked great had I used it when she was younger,” I say.

I see by her red face that she is a little embarrassed.

“Thanks again for letting me try it out – it was very kind of you!”

“Oh, no problem,” she says.

And then I smile and turn and leave with my boobs in my shirt and my kids sitting contently in the double stroller.


Mimi said...

Children are very important - that said, that woman is very unhappy & using her children as a substitute for the rest of her life.

ohh, I'm so judgmental this morning.

Ch@ndy said...

You know how I feel about neat and natural! Ewwww. Maybe she feels that by letting her kids suck on her tiddies until they are in preschool they will be smarter.

If I had nursed my kids they would have been freaks (assuming that notion that breast feeding increases IQ). Luckily, according to the state of California, I dumbed them down with that cows milk to "Gifted & Talented" grade of "normal".

Her boobs must look AWFUL!

Maria said...

Aren't you glad she thought you were a fellow neat and natural mom? :-) lol

bluesugarpoet said...

Unfortunately, her boobs looked great - bigger than mine and less saggy. I wonder what they looked like before?

I am glad that she saw me as approachable, though.